Your Movie Collection: On A Shelf, Or On A Server? DVD collector Kevin Bonds estimates that he owns more than 3,000 titles — all lined up on shelves in his basement. But he's the exception. DVD sales have dropped dramatically in recent years, and studios are racing to meet the needs of collectors who want to save and access their movies online.
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Your Movie Collection: On A Shelf, Or On A Server?

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Your Movie Collection: On A Shelf, Or On A Server?

Your Movie Collection: On A Shelf, Or On A Server?

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  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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Anybody you know who's over 40, maybe even as young as 35, probably had a record collection when they were younger. And those albums that you kept on your shelf, if you were one of those people, were probably very important to you. But today, many people don't own physical copies of their favorite music or movies. The number-one music retailer, iTunes, does not even sell CDs. And video sales are way down because of rentals. Hollywood studios are trying to adapt. They're developing streaming services and cyber storage that sell access to videos online. But NPR's Elizabeth Blair reports that some collectors refuse to adapt.

ELIZABETH BLAIR: Kevin Bonds has this infectious enthusiasm for his DVD collection. We start the tour upstairs at his spacious, comfortable home in Clinton, Maryland.

Mr. KEVIN BONDS: I tend to put my - I call them tier one or, you know, most frequently watched videos up here.

BLAIR: Complete series of�"Pirates of the Caribbean," "The Matrix," "Star Wars," several jazz concert videos.

Mr. BONDS: Chick flicks - all my wife's movies. I'm sorry. The Tyler Perrys, or, you know, she's a big Goldie Hawn fan. She's loves - what's the girl's name - you know, Julia Roberts. She loves Julia Roberts, you know, "Pretty Woman."

BLAIR: But then we go to what he calls the good stuff.

Mr. BONDS: Let's go down to the theater room. Here you go.

(Soundbite of footsteps)

BLAIR: Kevin Bonds' basement is quite the entertainment center. There's a huge movie screen, big, comfy chairs for a small audience, and row after row after row of DVDs, he figures close to 3,000 titles, including "Planet of the Apes: The Legacy Collection."

Mr. BONDS: A lot of stuff, you know, just memories from my childhood. I mean, I remember watching "Planet of the Apes."

BLAIR: Kevin Bonds is the kind of consumer Hollywood used to depend on.

Mr. RUSS CRUPNICK (NPD Group): I think the studios would love to have more of him.

BLAIR: Russ Crupnick studies the entertainment industry for the NPD Group. He says studios and retailers make more money when people like Kevin buy DVDs rather than rent them. But DVD sales have dropped off dramatically in recent years.

Mr. CRUPNICK: Consumers are increasingly saying: Do I really have to own this, when I can have access to it as often as I want through a rental vehicle, or through video on demand?

BLAIR: Crupnick says the studios are adapting. Primarily, they're developing online services like cyber storage, where people would pay to have access to videos on servers in the so-called cloud. Disney's Keychest is one example.

But will that be like owning the physical product? Not really. It might be hard to share with friends. Take the time Kevin Bonds loaned DVDs to his colleagues right before a massive snowstorm.

Mr. BONDS: When I knew we were all going to be on lockdown, I took - I came in and put a bunch of DVDs in a box and took them to my coworkers and let them pick out, so they would have something to watch while they were snowed in.

BLAIR: That wouldn't have been the same if his collection were exclusively online. Russ Crupnick.

Mr. CRUPNICK: If you want that level of portability or flexibility, you still need - for the moment, anyway - the physical format.

BLAIR: Crupnick doesn't think DVDs will ever go away entirely. But increasingly, personal video collections will be tethered to a server in the cloud. Just not Kevin Bonds'.

Mr. BONDS: You know, digital downloads don't mean anything to me. You know, I believe in the collection. I believe in displaying it, you know, for all the world to see.

BLAIR: On all good, old-fashioned shelves down here in his basement, not in some cloud.

Elizabeth Blair, NPR News.

(Soundbite of music)


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